Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hemme v. Airbus

April 1, 2010

ROSILENE HEMME, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
AIRBUS, S.A.S. ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This case comes before the court on the motion of Defendant Motorola, Inc. (Motorola) to dismiss all claims against it pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 and 12(b)(6) and the motion of Plaintiffs Rosilene Hemme, et al. ("Plaintiffs") to reconsider our prior ruling dismissing Defendant E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company ("DuPont") from the case. For the reasons stated below, Motorola's motion is denied and Plaintiffs' motion to reconsider is granted.

BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiffs are administrators of the estates of passengers who perished on Air France flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when their plane crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009. Plaintiffs allege that each of a number of defects in the Air France plane and its component parts independently caused the crash and resulted in the death of Plaintiffs' decedents. Because the present motions only implicate the sufficiency of the allegations with respect to Motorola and DuPont, we limit our presentation of the allegations to those that pertain to these two defendants.

Plaintiffs allege that Motorola designed, manufactured, assembled, and sold microprocessors that were used in the aircraft's air data inertial reference units ("ADIRUs") and flight control computers. ADIRUs obtain and process information from various sensors on the aircraft regarding the plane's air speed and angle of attack. Plaintiffs maintain that these microprocessors were defective and unreasonably dangerous at the time they left Motorola's care and custody. The alleged defects include that the microprocessors created and allowed erroneous data and spurious signals concerning the aircraft's air speed and angle of attack to be provided to the ADIRUs. Plaintiffs also assert that the microprocessors contained in the aircraft's flight control computers were defective in that they created and allowed erroneous data from the ADIRUs to be provided to the computers. As a result of the microprocessors providing erroneous data, Plaintiffs allege the flight control computers commanded dangerous and improper movements that caused the aircraft to crash.

Plaintiffs further allege that Motorola owed a duty of reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, and assembling their microprocessors in the ADIRUs and flight control computers so as not to cause injury to Plaintiff's decedents. According to Plaintiffs, Motorola breached that duty by, among other things, designing these microprocessors such that they could create and allow faulty data. Plaintiffs claim that Motorola's design, manufacture, and assembly of these microprocessors caused erroneous data to be provided to the ADIRUs and flight control computers, causing the flight computers to command improper movements that caused the accident aircraft to crash.

With regard to DuPont the complaint alleges that it designed, manufactured, assembled, and sold an aspect of the wiring associated with various sensors on the aircraft. Plaintiffs allege that this wiring was defective and unreasonably dangerous upon leaving DuPont's custody and control in that it was subject to wet arcing, dry arcing, chafing, cracking, hydrolysis, and pyrolization. Plaintiffs assert that these defects caused erroneous information to be provided to the ADIRUs and flight control computers which then commanded improper movements that caused the plane to crash. Plaintiffs further maintain that DuPont owed a duty of reasonable care to Plaintiffs' decedents in designing the wiring, DuPont breached that duty by designing the wiring such that the wiring was subject to arcing, chafing, cracking, etc., and that this breach resulted in the plane crashing into the ocean.

Plaintiffs filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court on October 19, 2009, seeking damages under strict product liability and negligence theories against a number of defendants under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, 740 ILCS 180/0.01-2.2 and the Illinois Survival Act, 755 ILCS 5/27-6. The case was removed to federal court on November 18. On December 15, DuPont filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 and 12(b)(6). On January 13, 2010, we granted DuPont's motion without prejudice and provided Plaintiffs with 30 days to seek reconsideration. Pursuant to our order, Plaintiffs filed a motion to reconsider on February 11. On January 15, Motorola filed a motion to dismiss all claims against it for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 8, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that permits the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. "[D]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Cooney v. Rossiter, 583 F.3d 967, 971 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950) (internal quotation marks and editorial marks omitted). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff, construe allegations of a complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the complaint. Bontkowski v. First Nat'l Bank of Cicero, 998 F.2d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1993). When examining the facts alleged and matching them with the legal claims, the court must give the plaintiff "the benefit of imagination, so long as the hypotheses are consistent with the complaint." Bissessur v. Ind. Univ. Bd. of Trustees, 581 F.3d 599, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009).

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiffs' Motion to Reconsider

Plaintiffs ask us to reconsider our previous order dismissing DuPont from the case without prejudice. In appropriate situations, a district court has discretion to make a different determination of any interlocutory matter that has not been taken to judgment or determined on appeal. Cameo Convalescent Ctr. v. Perry, 800 F.2d 108, 110 (7th Cir. 1986); Peterson v. Lindner, 765 F.2d 698, 704 (7th Cir. 1985). Dismissals without prejudice are generally considered interlocutory when a district court expressly retains jurisdiction over the dispute to afford the complainant some opportunity to avoid dismissal. See Ohio River Co. v. Carrillo, 754 F.2d 236, 238 (7th Cir. 1985). We ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.